THE JAMES GANG
In past months, I've interviewed authors and publishing insiders who have "James" in their names. This month I open the interviews to include authors who have used the name "James" in their books. My December James Gang interviewee is Samhain Publishing/Ellora's Cave author N.J. Walters, who writes a series set in the fictional small town of Jamesville, Maine.
1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James? In other words, why did you chose the name "Jamesville" for the small-town setting of your Samhain Publishing series?
LOL Now that’s a good question. The only reply I have for you is why not? *g* I was actually living in a small town at the time. In fact, I patterned Jamesville on it. This town, which I won’t name, actually ends in “ville” and I liked the way it sounded. Jamesville sounds like a small town where there is a local diner, where people say good morning to one another when they meet on the street, where there are still locally owned stores instead of chain stores and folks know one another’s business. It’s the kind of town I’d like to live in.
There are actually seven books in the “Jamesville” series. It all started with Discovering Dani and The Way Home, which I actually wrote while I was living in that small town. The other books—The Return of Patrick O’Rourke, The Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke, A Legal Affair, By the Book and Past Promises—came about ten years later.
2. Do you have other series that aren't set in Jamesville?
Now that’s a loaded question. I can’t seem to write anything but series. Once I start writing about a group of characters, I tend to want to write all their stories. I try to write each book so it can be read as a stand-alone. But, of course, if you read all the books in the series, you’ll recognize characters from the other books.
With Samhain Publishing I have my spicy hot werewolf “Legacy” series, and I’ve just released A Touch of Magick, which is the first book in my paranormal “Spells, Secrets and Seductions” series.
With Ellora’s Cave, I have the “Awakening Desires” series (erotic/contemporary), “Dalakis Passion” (erotic/vampire), “Summersville Secrets” (erotic/contemporary), “Tapestries” (time-travel/ménage a trios), “Project Alpha” (erotic/futuristic), “Shadow Ryders” (erotic/shapeshifter), “The Courage Brothers” (erotic/contemporary/quickies) and my “Amethyst Duo”—Amethyst Moon and Amethyst Dreams (erotic/time-travel/ménage a trios).
3. Tell us about your latest or upcoming release.
My latest release is A Touch of Magick. It’s the first book in a hot paranormal new trilogy from Samhain Publishing. Here’s the blurb:
Rhiannon Sparks admits she’s not a very good witch—she can’t even light a candle without a match—but she keeps trying. At least her talent for business has made her magick shop a huge success. Now if only there was even the faintest flicker in her nonexistent love life.
During a night of eating and drinking, she and her girlfriends cast a candle-magick spell for hot sex. All in good fun, of course. Except Rhiannon accidentally mixes up the words. Instead of a lover, she asks for true love.
Deputy Ryland Stone’s past keeps him firmly rooted in reality. Then he meets Rhiannon and sparks literally fly. One date leads to another, and then they’re practically setting the bedroom on fire... until she reveals the deal breaker.
Though love and magick have found Rhiannon at last, getting a handle on her newly unleashed power is the least of her problems. Unless Ryland accepts that magick exists, he will never accept her for who and what she is.
4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?
I write in a lot of different genres, but I think the underlying theme in all my books is one of personal transformation, as well as the power of love. Some of my books are very dark, others are lighter, but in all of them I want my characters to grow in some way, to understand better who they really are and push their limits.
5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
That’s really a tough one. That’s like asking a mother which child she likes more. Each book is special in its own way. One of my favorite heroes is Isaiah Striker from Isaiah’s Haven. He’s tough as they come, loyal to the bone and isolated from those he loves because he feels as though he’s failed them. I knew he’d need a very special woman to help him get over his past and to not be intimidated by him. After all the guy is one tough werewolf. A close second is Stefan from Stefan’s Salvation and Shamus from The Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke.
As for heroines, I think that one of my favorites is Roxanne Sykes from Embroidered Fantasies. She’s been through a lot with an abusive ex-husband, and just when she’s starting to put her life back together he’s out of jail and he’s found her. Add to that the fact that she buys a magical tapestry that transports her to another world where two warriors want to claim her as their own and you have a woman who has to be strong to survive. I also love Zarina from Three Swords, One Heart. She’s one tough warrior. I also love Laurel Rose McCaffey from Stefan’s Salvation.
I could go on…
6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?
What’s not to love? I get to write stories for a living and I can go to work in my sweatpants. Seriously, though, I do love getting to create something that other people will read and, hopefully, enjoy. I’m very aware of how lucky I am.
7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?
I’ve been very luck with reviews over the years. Almost all of them have been very positive, which I’m very thankful for. Makes the few negative ones easier to handle.
I recently found out that my book, Embracing Silence, has been nominated for a 2010 RT Reviewer's Choice Award in the Small Press Erotic Romance/Fiction category. And the first book in my “Legacy” series—Alexandra’s Legacy—is up for an EPIC Award in the paranormal category. I’m thrilled with both nominations.
8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?
It’s a challenge, especially considering I’m not very tech savvy. I have a website and blog and joined Facebook this year. I guest blog frequently and try to take advantage of many of the free and low cost advertising opportunities offered by many of the review sites. I’m active on both my publishers’ Yahoo Chat Groups. And I have a newsletter that goes out about ten times a year.
Most of all I try to write the best books possible. Nothing is better advertising than word-of-mouth recommendations by readers who enjoy my work.
9. What is your next project?
I’m currently working on the next book in the “Awakening Desires” series. I’ve had a lot of readers write me and ask me about several of the characters in this series (most notable Justin Logan and T. S. MacNamara). So, I’m going back and writing two of them for now before I switch back to another one of my series.
I have several books contracted which should be out early next year—the next “Legacy” book and the final book in the “Courage Brother” Quickie Trilogy.
10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes is from the philosopher Lao Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ”
It’s a reminder that we can do whatever we want to do if we’re willing to take it one step at a time. We might not reach the destination we envision, but we will be better off for having made the journey. If we don’t take that step, we go nowhere.
Check out all my books at http://www.njwalters.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/awakeningdesires/ (newsletter group)
Thanks, N.J.! Next month I'll interview Tease author Kayleigh Jamison.
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